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Radical Islamist online magazines first appeared in November 2003 with the publication of Sawt al-Jihad (Voice of Jihad) in Arabic. This magazine discontinued publication in April 2005 after 29 issues, having been shut down by the Saudi security services. The magazine was produced by the Saudi branch of al-Qaeda that later evolved into al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP). It called upon other al-Qaeda groups to develop and franchise their own magazines. Besides the plethora of radical Islamist online magazines in Arabic that has been produced since 2003—along with those in many other languages including Urdu, Russian, German, French, and Turkish—English-language editions have been in existence since April-May 2007. There have been a number of these magazines published at varying dates and for varying periods of time. Some, such as Al Rashideen and Ihya-e-Khilafat, were initiated but fell by the wayside, victim to a lack of audience, the capture or death of an editor, or their initiating group’s evolution. In the cases of al-Qaeda’s Inspire and Islamic State’s Dabiq magazines, the publications have been ongoing—until very recently with the demise of Dabiq—with over a dozen issues each, and have notably been cited in relation to terrorism cases by law enforcement. Beyond their propaganda potentials, each magazine can be said to promote a specific jihadi culture, to be embraced in total by followers of the particular group in question in order to achieve its desired utopian vision. Toward that end, components of these online magazines address the group’s successes and legitimacy, offer a vision of a desirable end state, encourage recruitment into their ranks, direct violent action against stated enemies, xiv and provide instructional materials and advice with regards to its enaction.

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Defense and Security Studies | International Relations | Leadership Studies | Military and Veterans Studies | Other International and Area Studies | Other Public Affairs, Public Policy and Public Administration | Peace and Conflict Studies | Political Theory

Radical Islamist English-Language Online Magazines: Research Guide, Strategic Insights, and Policy Response